Friday, January 8, 2016

Warm That Sucker Up

Once a month, I gather in a plain room full of gentlemen in a circle of chairs. Hands in pockets or coats. Everyone with a bag, satchel, or case.

The rules are pretty simple – gather in someone's living room, basement, porch, or backyard, even. Hook up the stereo. [Note: this is the first thing I do when moving in. Even before unpacking boxes! Because how are you supposed to unpack boxes without jams?] Put a record on the platter – you gotta warm that sucker up. Yes, record.

This isn't CD club. It's record club.

(Jr. Bacon Record Club, October 2015, my humble abode.)

Next, put some bacon on the skillet. Probably a pound. Maybe three, depending on attendance. Write the attendees names on some scraps of paper, and put them in the hat of whoever has taken theirs off. Draw a name – that's who has to pick the first Perfect Side.

One record. One side. No pressure...just a perfect one is all.

There are different strategies for the side; some bring a single record, maybe something new scored at a thrift shop, a recent release, or an album recently listened to on repeat. Others prefer an improv approach; bring a few, feel out the flow of the evening, and pick a side that enhances the vibe ...or throws it for a loop. Give a quick introduction of your record: artist, title, year it was released, maybe a pressing detail or where you dug it out of a crate or who turned you on to it.

Put the record on. Cue it. Drop the needle.

Pass the album around – you gotta hold the art in your hands. Otherwise, you might as well be passing around an iPod. Cold metal is weaponry; ink and cardboard is art on canvas. The initial groove crackles and the music starts. Shoot the shit or put your head down and groove. Drink a beer or sit and stare.

Hear something you haven't heard before.

In the context of others it's fellowship; it's church with a cigarette break, communion with no priest. Someone's taking notes (maybe), but there's no boss. Everyone's on the level. Kanye to Kraftwerk, Penderecki to Purple Rain. Fifty sessions in without a repeat (...right?) – and then you've got another month to dig up your next gem.

[This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox. Today's prompt: What new circles have you formed? Any unexpected ones? Did you start a book club or hang out in a tea yurt? Maybe you re-upped with existing friends. Explore your kumbaya moment from 2015.]

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